THE WHOLE TRUTH. “13 Reasons Why” star Devin Druid chats with DAMAN about his journey to stardom and the impact of his craft
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Reaching 19 years of age, for the average Joe, means either being a sophomore in college or perhaps settling down in their first entry-level job.
For Virginia-native Devin Druid, however, being 19 means having more than a dozen roles to his credits, including one opposite Daniel Radcliffe in “Imperium,” and most lately, in hit series “13 Reasons Why.” As the second season of the controversial show takes shape, Druid shares his thoughts about the impact of “13 Reasons Why” and how his passion for acting came to be.
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DA MAN: So, “13 Reasons Why” ended quite a while ago, and the second season is still quite a while away. Yet, the show is still a hot topic. What, would you say, is the main reason why “13 Reasons Why” has made such a big impact?
Devin Druid: I’d say because of how real it is and how so many viewers can identify with part of the story.
DA MAN: Today, about half a year after “13 Reasons Why” first started airing, what do you remember most about working on the show?
dd: I mostly remember feeling so proud to be involved in a project with such love and passion to creating something to help other people. And I still feel that today.
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DA MAN: “13 Reasons Why” dealt with some really sensitive and controversial subjects. Did you initially have any misgivings about starring in the show?
dd: Not at all. The topics we deal with are quite heavy, but they’re real. You can’t censor or sugarcoat real life struggles. That’s an insult to the people fighting these issues every day.
DA MAN: If you look at the entry for “13 Reasons Why” on Wikipedia, the biggest section is about the show’s social impact. On a more personal level, has being in the show affected your own views on things like suicide, bullying and so on?
dd: Definitely. These issues have been really close to me ever since I can remember and I’m glad to have been more educated on them.
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DA MAN: Still, “13 Reasons Why” has been praised for its portrayal of those issues. Do you believe that modern TV has a responsibility, for lack of a better world, to bring sensitive issues to light?
dd: I think it’s such an important thing to have a mainstream piece of entertainment, and one that’s so easily accessible, talking about these issues and showing that they’re normal. And I do believe that we have a responsibility to tell these truths wholly and accurately. If one human being was able to watch our show, identify themselves in a character, and come out knowing that they’re not alone in how they feel and that things can get better, then we’ve done our jobs.
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DA MAN: Conversely, do you think that tV shows like “13 reasons Why” can inspire real change?
dd: I really do. It all starts with communication and ending the stigma around these types of struggles.
DA MAN: Moving on, is there anything new you can share with us about the upcoming second season?
dd: I can tell you that it’s happening! I think that’s all I can say, to be quite honest.
DA MAN: Is there anything you can tell us about your hopes for the upcoming second season?
dd: My hopes are to continue the story with the same amount of love and care. Thus far, I think we’re doing exactly that.
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DA MAN: On a slightly unrelated note, how do you deal with the increased public attention on you after “13 Reasons Why” took off?
dd: I don’t really think about it too much. Everyone I’ve met has been super lovely, and I do feel a responsibility now that I have a platform I can speak from. Luckily, my mom has raised to me to speak up for what’s right and to look out for my fellow humans. So, I’ll always continue that.
“If one human being was able to watch our show … and come out knowing that they’re not alone… then we’ve done our job”
DA MAN: Tyler Down is currently your most well-known role. Before “13 reasons Why,” what would you consider your most significant role?
dd: I’m not quite sure. My resume of work isn’t the longest, but every project I’ve worked on has taught me so much about the work I’m pursuing, and myself. I think Conrad from my film “Louder Than Bombs” is one of my favorites. He’s someone I really got to pull from myself and make my own.
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DA MAN: As the story goes, you developed a passion for acting after a memorable performance at your school’s talent show. Do you still remember what it was exactly that made you go, “Yeah, this is what I want to do from now on”?
dd: I don’t remember everything about the moment, but where I grew up in Richmond, Virginia, we have this lovely little old theater in downtown called the Byrd Theater. And I do remember sitting there and looking up at the chandelier and the painted ceiling and thinking, “You know, I do love doing this. I’d love to be on that big screen there someday.”
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DA MAN: Has anything changed about how you approach acting now that it’s basically your job?
dd: No, because that’s when it no longer becomes enjoyable. I make movies because I love making art and telling stories. I don’t love getting up early to go to work. The day I no longer enjoy acting is the day I quit. I don’t see that happening anytime soon. I love it with all my heart and I’m so lucky to do what I do.
“You can’t censor or sugarcoat real life struggles. That’s an insult to the people fighting these issues every day”
DA MAN: Besides your love for performing, what would be, say, three more reasons why (please apologize the constant wordplay) you’ve managed to succeed in show biz?
dd: Passion, dedication and support.
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DA MAN: Looking back at your career so far, would you have done anything differently if you had the opportunity to go through it all over again?
dd: There are a few times I didn’t try as hard as I should have. I was distracted and didn’t put the right amount of energy into my work. I took a look at myself and decided that this was what I really wanted to do and so, I put my nose to the grindstone and loved every minute. I probably would re-do it and have that talk from the beginning.
DA MAN: And looking ahead, what are your long term goals?
dd: My long term goals are really to create art that touches peoples’ hearts and connects with them.
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DA MAN: Besides acting, what else are you passionate about? For instance, we’ve heard that you’re now quite busy with the newly released “Destiny 2”…
dd: Yes, I love video games and “Destiny 2” is just one game that i’m sinking my teeth into right now. I also like building computers. I’ve recently accepted my passion for music. I know I’ve always loved listening to music, but I found artists that speak to me and my issues and help me through rough patches. I always think that’s something special.
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Photography Mitchell Nguyen Mccormack
Styling Gabriel Langenbrunner
Grooming Robert Bryan at State Artists Management
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